Tag Archives: highway carnage

Good read on the essential elements of Sweden’s Vision Zero strategy. US could learn & act.

If you think you know what Vision Zero is all about or if you’re not really sure what it is, check out this article whose author interviewed Matt-Ake Belin from Sweden:

What were the main barriers that had to be overcome in initially adopting Sweden’s Vision Zero strategy?

I would say that the main problems that we had in the beginning were not really political, they were more on the expert side. The largest resistance we got to the idea about Vision Zero was from those political economists that have built their whole career on cost-benefit analysis. For them it is very difficult to buy into “zero.” Because in their economic models, you have costs and benefits, and although they might not say it explicitly, the idea is that there is an optimum number of fatalities. A price that you have to pay for transport.

The problem is the whole transport sector is quite influenced by the whole utilitarianist mindset. Now we’re bringing in the idea that it’s not acceptable to be killed or seriously injured when you’re transporting. It’s more a civil-rights thing that you bring into the policy.

The other group that had trouble with Vision Zero was our friends, our expert friends. Because most of the people in the safety community had invested in the idea that safety work is about changing human behavior. Vision Zero says instead that people make mistakes, they have a certain tolerance for external violence, let’s create a system for the humans instead of trying to adjust the humans to the system.

Read more hereThe Swedish Approach to Road Safety: ‘The Accident Is Not the Major Problem’

And there you have it, folks. . . some of the stumbling blocks in our country’s approach to traffic/road/highway safety. And that is why I am adamant in my push for a major change in our rulemaking process, in fact in our entire approach to road safety. It is why I keep bugging the powers-that-be to do something about it. . . because they can.

And if they don’t heed my pleas, and people continue to die from vehicle violence which might have been prevented had they acted upon my petitions, then who should will hold responsible?

Lame Duck Actions Could Reverse the Tide of Highway Carnage

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Please, Secretary Foxx, act now before it is too late for you to pave the way for genuine Vision Zero Rulemaking. Set my case before President Obama.

Pres. Obama, sign this Exec. Order–while you still can–to protect people from violent vehicle deaths!

 

Draft Dem. Platform: “Ensure Health & Safety…Gun Violence Prevention” But NOT Vehicle Violence

See the latest road safety message from Lou Lombardo:

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

 The DRAFT Democrat Platform contains the following subjects:

“Ensure the Health and Safety of All Americans

  • Universal Health Care 
  • Community Health Centers
  • Prescription Drug Costs
  • Medical Research
  • Drug and Alcohol Addiction
  • Mental Health
  • Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice
  • Public Health
  • Violence Against Women and Sexual Assault
  • Gun Violence Prevention” 

On page 25 one can read:

“Gun Violence Prevention

 With 33,000 Americans dying every year, Democrats believe that we must finally take sensible action to address gun violence. While gun ownership is part of the fabric of many communities, too many families in America have suffered from gun violence. We can respect the rights of responsible gun owners while keeping our communities safe.

We will expand background checks and close dangerous loopholes in our current laws, hold irresponsible dealers and manufacturers accountable, keep weapons of war—such as assault weapons—off our streets, and ensure guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists, domestic abusers, other violent criminals, and those  with severe mental health issues.”

 Hmnn…. Both are important.

But NHTSA has recorded a 9.3 % increase in [crash] fatalities in early 2015 to a level of nearly 35,000 Americans dying every year now.

In addition, every day nearly twice as many Americans suffer serious injuries such as brain and spinal cord paralysis due to vehicle violence than to gun violence.  See
http://www.careforcrashvictims.com/blog-GunViolenceandVehicleViolenceThoughtsonFathersDay2016.php

So why are Democrats so silent on ending vehicle violence?

 Campaign finance money?

 Automotive (Dems & Reps): $15 million See https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/

Gun Control (Dems): $1.7 million in 2015   See  https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=Q12Gun Rights (Republicans): $11 million in 2015  See  https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=Q13

So what are Americans who are concerned with ending vehicle violence to do this election year?

 Lou Lombardo

So why am I not surprised? This has got to change!

See my previous post on President Obama’s apparent perspective on vehicle violence: Obama (6/1/16): “We used to have really bad auto fatality rates. . .” And we don’t NOW?!

Mad Mary

SIGN  & SHARE the TRAFFIC SAFETY OMBUDSMAN Petition:  https://wh.gov/i6kUj

PLEASE NOTE: If you sign the petition, be sure to go to your email. We the People will send you an email which will say this in the subject line:  “Almost done! Verify your Petitions.WhiteHouse.gov account.” Follow the instructions to verify your signature.

DC in 1938:Raised “death flag” for traffic deaths. Give honor to victims/visibility to problem. #VisionZero

So, apparently, in 1938, Washington DC used two flags to announce the city’s progress in traffic safety: a white one was put up on Deathless Days and a black skull & cross bones when a traffic death was reported.

What might it do to help promote a safety culture if we give honor to victims and visibility to progress (or the lack thereof) in moving Towards Zero Crash Deaths & Serious Injuries.

Also, see this article: When D.C. Flew the Skull and Crossbones For Every Traffic Death

And, today, Traffic Safety/Deaths is not even an issue on whitehouse.gov. See for yourself.

Do it, President Obama, for We the People of this United States of America! #VisionZero

PetitionHeader_option2

 

Why on earth don’t we establish National Traffic Safety Standards & require them to be adopted by States?

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I was able to watch a live-stream press conference yesterday from the comfort of my home. As a result, I was enlightened about the STATE OF SAFETY in our country. We are acting like the individually-united states are just that–individual. Acting like they need to have control over decisions about what SAFETY measures should be required in their individual states.

In disregard of the abundantly-available wonders of modern safety technology, what we are really doing is increasing the likelihood that INDIVIDUALS in their states will experience DEATH BY MOTOR VEHICLE!

Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety held a press conference yesterday at which they released their 13th annual Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws–outlining the 319 proven safety laws which many states have not adopted, including such things as seat belt usage, motorcycle helmet laws, impaired driving, child passenger safety, teen graduated licensing laws, and distracted driving.

I was alerted to the upcoming event by Lou Lombardo of Care for Crash Victims. He sent out this notice:

Report to be released tomorrow from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety titled “Missing”.

Missing refers to State Safety Laws missing in each State.

Buried in the State summaries are statistics on the number of people who died of crash injuries in each State for the past 10 years. Add them up and we find that 362,532 Americans are “missing” i.e., lost their lives due to vehicle violence over the 10 year period.

Using NHTSA figures of estimated injuries nearly 1.5 million additional people suffered serious injuries in America over the 10 year period. These people are also “missing” – i.e., not counted.

Using DOT values of $9 million in comprehensive costs per fatality, America “missing” losses would be valued by DOT to be about $3 trillion.

Roadmap reports

Why would we think that proven safety measures should be left up to the individual states to determine whether or not to require their use? Is this a matter of personal freedom? Do we think that we are trampling on citizens’ individual rights? Do we think that we need to give them CHOICE in this matter?

Do we need to let individuals become informed and make their own decisions on what would or would not be a good idea for them? Would their choice impact only them and them alone? Is that really what we think and how we choose to govern our country?

Is it the duty of the federal government to protect its citizens from crash deaths & serious injuries? I happen to think so: http://annaleahmary.com/2016/01/is-it-the-duty-of-the-federal-government-to-protect-its-citizens-from-crash-deaths-serious-injuries/.

And if that is, in fact, the case, then why not establish national safety standards and require them to be adopted by states? I know, from the aftermath of our crash, that there are already certain federal highway safety standards which states are required to adopt as is.

For an example of this, see FMCSA’s COMPATIBILITY OF STATE LAWS AND REGULATIONS AFFECTING INTERSTATE MOTOR CARRIER OPERATIONS  https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/part/355.

Why not do the same for all of those 319 proven SAFETY LAWS alluded to by Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety? Mandate that all states adopt them as well. Why have each state struggle to re-invent the wheel and wade through all of the research (or try to do the research themselves) when we could gather all of the resources needed to design SAFETY Laws at the national level?

See how we are doing that kind of collaborative effort to obtain the best possible truck underride protection:

To not do so is to cause untold delays in bringing about SAFER travel on our roads. In my estimation, to continue to travel down this road of Individual State Safety Laws, is to knowingly sentence to DEATH BY MOTOR VEHICLE countless members of our families and communities today and in all the days to come.  That is plain and simple criminal negligence.

Reckless Driving & Criminal Injustice: One More Grief For Victims to Bear

And, on top of what I have already said, I would like to add that once safety measures are mandated, then I think that there should be criminal penalties for not adhering to those laws. There should be fines for violation of traffic safety laws. And, if breaking those laws leads to death or serious injury, then the lawbreaker should be held accountable, charged with RECKLESS criminal action, and receive appropriate consequences.

I am no legal expert and cannot begin to delineate exactly how it should be  handled. But when I looked up the word reckless, I found reference to the term reckless endangerment , which has been described like this:

In Tennessee, a person may be convicted of the crime of Reckless Endangerment if the state prosecutor proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the person:

  1. Recklessly engaged in conduct;
  2. That placed or may have placed a person;
  3. In imminent danger of death;
  4. Or serious bodily injury.

The term reckless, as it is used here, means that a person was aware of, but consciously disregarded, a substantial and unjustifiable risk that his conduct would place another person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. 

http://www.tndui.com/criminal-defense/knoxville-felony-offense-lawyer/knoxville-reckless-endangerment-lawyer/

Just yesterday, I saw an example of car owners choosing to not use a safety measure–lane departure warning devices, which apparently can be quite annoying (a glitch which could quite probably be remedied). If use of this safety technology becomes mandated, then those who choose to disregard the law should be charged with any resulting DEATH BY MOTOR VEHICLE.

And, while we are at it, let’s inform and train our citizens from an early age that a vehicle is not a toy and that their driving behavior impacts those around them big time:  https://www.facebook.com/EndDistractedDrving/photos/a.316429631751037.73716.141583792568956/994168863977107/?type=3&fref=nf. We should take a clue from a Jimmy Stewart-narrated 1954 driver safety film:

This, of course, brings up the need to have automakers provide safety devices as standard not optional equipment–at an affordable price for all. And for older vehicles, offer discounts for retrofitting them where possible:

Why am I being so vocal about this issue? Because I do not want thousands upon thousands of family members to receive death certificates in the mail for loved ones whose deaths could have been prevented by this country acting in a timely and morally responsible manner.

certificates and pens 010

This issue of mandating national traffic safety standards to be adopted by states adds one more practical application to my recommendations for a National Vision Zero Goal and Vision Zero Executive Order.

Check out the details of our Vision Zero Petitions here: http://annaleahmary.com/2016/01/adopt-a-national-vision-zero-goal-save-lives-not-dollars/

Maybe I need to get going and launch a new petition calling for federal safety laws to be adopted by all states–including proven means for moving Towards Zero Crash Deaths & Serious Injuries and in a timely manner.  https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/350.107 & http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local/after-deadly-traffic-year-austin-to-join-national-/nqCgq/

To do so would be honoring the memory of not only our daughters, AnnaLeah (forever 17) and Mary (13) who died due to a potentially-preventable truck underride crash, but also my ancestor, Resolved Waldron, who came to New Amsterdam in 1654, established a home on Broadway near Wall Street http://tinyurl.com/hlpu2mx, and “His conscientious exactness in performing his duties [as deputy sheriff] made him a favorite with Governor Stuyvesant.”  http://www.eroots.net/docs/Waldron%20public.pdf May we always be a nation diligent to protect our citizens.

Obama: “We can’t accept this carnage” Let’s apply that sentiment toward preventable highway carnage.

I am counting on President Obama’s statements related to gun violence also being applied toward the ongoing public health problem of traffic fatalities (or more clearly, people being killed on the road).

First I read Obama’s statement, “If there’s even one thing we can do, if there’s just one life we can save—we’ve got an obligation to try.” And now I hear that he is saying, “We can’t accept this carnage. . .”

How about the highway carnage? “One of America’s more egregious public health afflictions, deaths and injuries in car crashes, is being massively ignored.” – See more at: http://www.fairwarning.org/2012/09/a-strange-indifference-to-highway-carnage/#sthash.AI0IcziI.dpuf

That article also informs us, “Despite more than 30,000 deaths and more than 2.2 million crash injuries per year, highway safety has largely fallen off the political radar screen.  Since 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson publicly confronted a hostile auto industry by demanding, and getting, new laws governing the safety of automobiles, more than two million Americans have died of crash injuries. Since then no president has taken a forceful public stand in favor of strong government action to counter the death toll.

I’d say it’s time to take a stand, President Obama. Set a national Vision Zero goal and sign a Vision Zero Executive Order.

https://www.change.org/p/obama-adopt-a-vision-zero-goal-and-sign-an-executive-order-to-save-lives-not-dollars

Rebekah photo of crash

Our story: